Exploring the impact of percussive massage therapy on sports recovery


The search for alternative approaches to enhance muscle recovery and optimize sports performance has increased significantly in recent years. 

When performing intense exercise it is common to experience muscle discomfort and soreness, which can affect range of motion and strength. Athletes resort to different recovery methods and routines to counteract these effects.

It is in this context that tools such as foam rollers, cold water immersion and compression garments have gained popularity as short-term recovery methods. These tools have proven to be practical and efficient in reducing physical fatigue and maintaining training quality.

However, in recent years, a recovery tool has emerged that has garnered much attention: the massage gun. This tool uses percussive massage therapy that is based on vibrations directed at soft tissues. This technique has been shown to have immediate and profound effects on muscle recovery.

Physical and Perceptual Benefits of Percussive Massage Therapy

It has been theorized that the vibrations generated by the massage gun can stimulate blood flow, reduce inflammation and increase muscle tissue mobility. In addition to the physical benefits, a study conducted by researchers at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia, found that athletes who incorporate this massage therapy into their recovery routine also experience improvements in perceptual recovery, which includes factors such as mood and motivation.

Although conventional sports massage also offers benefits in reducing muscle soreness and improving flexibility, massage guns have been found to be widely used by competitive athletes. In fact, between 15% and 25% of triathletes use them regularly in their training.

Why is percussive massage therapy so popular? 

The popularity of these massage guns can be attributed, in part, to the positive perception that athletes have of their effectiveness. Many times, athletes select recovery strategies based on their personal perceptions rather than scientific evidence. The relief of pain and muscle tension after using a massage gun is undoubtedly one of the most appealing factors.

However, caution should be exercised with the use of massage guns, as cases of serious injury due to incorrect or excessive use have been reported. This is why more research and the implementation of evidence-based guidelines are required to promote proper use and minimize any associated risks.

A young man receiving percussion massage on his back.
Percussion massage guns are very popular, as 15% to 25% of athletes use them in their training routine.

In summary, the emergence of massage guns as a recovery tool has generated interest due to their percussive massage effects on muscle tissues. Although more research is still needed on their physical and perceptual impact, these tools have proven to be efficient and widely used by elite athletes.

Continue your professional training 

If you are passionate about sports and are interested in acquiring knowledge and skills to excel in this industry, we recommend you consider the Master’s Degree in Physical Activity: Training and Sports Management offered by the Universidad Internacional Iberoamericana (UNIB). This program will provide you with the essential tools necessary to succeed in the constantly evolving field of sports performance.

This master’s degree will allow you to become an expert in sports management, which will give you a competitive advantage in the world of sports. In addition, you will have the opportunity to learn from qualified professors and excellent learning quality.

Don’t miss the opportunity to reach your full potential in the field of sport by enrolling in this master’s program today. This is your chance to chart a successful future that will allow you to stand out as a leader in the sports field.

Source: Under the Gun: Percussive massage therapy and physical and perceptual recovery in active adults


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